European Commission guide to travel between the UK and EU in a no-deal Brexit

The UK Cabinet met this morning to ramp up the Nation’s ‘no-deal’ planning.  This follows the announcement of an additional £2 billion contingency fund to allow the most impacted government departments - such as the Home Office and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – to prepare for a no-deal Brexit on 29 March 2019.

Meanwhile the European Commission - having dismissed any prospect of re-opening negotiations on the deal and telling the UK to ‘take or leave without it’ – is also ramping up preparations across the ‘EU27’ remaining nations with the strong advice that it is prudent to plan for a ‘no-deal’ Brexit.

As a scene setter, we are posting two quick-reference guides aimed at EU businesses and citizens.  This one aimed at EU27 citizens who travel between the UK and EU.  

  • Border Checks: additional scrutiny at borders; new passport requirements; but no visas needed for short stays.

  • Customs, VAT and Excise: new duty free limits; luggage checks; but some potential for VAT refunds.

  • Travelling with pets: end of ‘pet passports’; ‘animal health certificates’ may be required.

  • Driving: UK driving licenses no longer recognised - international driving permit may be required (decision by each EU27 country); no automatic insurance cover – ‘green card’ may be required.

  • Health Treatment: end of EHIC; private travel insurance may be advised.

  • EU passenger rights: no longer apply.

  • Mobile Phone & Data Roaming: EU rules no longer apply; surcharges may be re-instated.

There are presently over 70 published no-deal preparation notices - with another tranche scheduled for release on 19 December 2018.

Contact us in the first instance at for advice and support on any aspect of preparing for Brexit.


European Commission Guide: Seven things you need to know when travelling between the UK and the EU after Brexit in the event of no-deal

The United Kingdom (UK) will leave the European Union (EU) on Friday 29 March 2019 at midnight. This is exactly two years after it notified the European Council of its intention to withdraw:

  • If the Withdrawal Agreement is ratified before 30 March 2019, most of the legal effects of Brexit will apply as of 1 January 2021, i.e. after a transition period of 21 months, the terms of which are set out in the draft Withdrawal Agreement.

  • In the absence of a Withdrawal Agreement, there will be no transition period and EU law will no longer apply to and in the UK as of 30 March 2019.

Those who plan to travel between the UK and the EU27 after Brexit, as well as businesses providing travel-related services, should start preparing for the UK’s withdrawal, if they have not yet done so.


Post-Brexit, UK nationals will no longer enjoy the facilitations provided for EU/EEA/CH citizens at the outer borders of the EU - and will not be entitled to use the separate EU/EEA/CH lanes. Persons travelling into the EU will be subject to additional verifications concerning, for instance, duration and purpose of stay.

UK citizens will need travel documents with a validity of no more than ten years, and valid for at least three months after intended departure from the EU.

The European Commission has proposed to the EU legislator to exempt UK nationals from visa requirements for short-term stays.


There are limits to the quantities of products (in particular tobacco products and alcoholic beverages) that can be imported into the EU free of customs duties, VAT and excise duties post-Brexit.

Luggage may be subject to customs checks when entering the EU from the UK.

Visitors from the UK will be entitled to a VAT refund on departure from the EU.


The EU pet passport will no longer be valid for pet-owners resident in the UK post-Brexit.

Those travelling from the UK to the EU with pets should check, before travelling, which specific requirements will apply to the UK as a third country. They may need either a third country pet passport, or an animal health certificate.


Post-Brexit, the mutual recognition system of driving licences between Member States no longer applies to the UK. Holders of a UK driving licence should verify with the relevant EU Member State whether an additional “international driving permit” is required.

People using a private vehicle registered in the UK are advised to check if their insurance covers both the EU and the UK after withdrawal. A “green card” may be required.


Post-Brexit, access to healthcare in the EU will no longer be possible on the basis of a UK European Health Insurance card, and vice-versa.

People are advised to verify conditions for reimbursement of emergency medical expenses in third countries and consider taking out private travel insurance.


EU passenger rights to information, reimbursement, re-routing or compensation in case of delays and cancellations may no longer apply to UK flights and carriers, as well as ship, bus, coach and rail travels, depending on the point of departure and arrival and the country where the carrier is licensed.


Providers of mobile communication services – voice calls, SMS or data - will no longer be bound by EU roaming rules when operating in the UK.

This means they may apply surcharges to UK customers using roaming services in the EU, and EU travellers using roaming services in the UK.


Import into the EU of certain goods will be restricted or prohibited: for example products of animal origin (such as meat, milk, ham, cheese), cash over EUR 10,000, certain cultural goods, plants, plant products, or certain animals.

EU citizens will no longer be entitled to turn to UK embassies and consulates to seek consular protection in a third country (and vice-versa).

John ShuttleworthComment